While I am writing, we are in the middle of Ramadan, that special month for Muslims, and a headache for the progress of a project that is being developed in Islamic countries. In recent years, I have had to live several "ramadans", which force to rethink the project plan during these dates.

This month is the time when Muslims do not eat (or drink) during the day. But after the prayer at sunset, they reactivate their life cycles, so that the street is full of activity until the wee hours of the morning. Some countries include in their legislation a reduction of working hours. However, it is always advisable to adjust the working hours of the local staff, since their vital energy is, logically, by the floors.

What not everyone knows, is that non-Muslim expatriates are also required to follow the standard, and during that month, you will not be able to eat or drink, in the presence of a believer. At the very least, you will expose yourself to a monumental scolding and the contempt of your local collaborators. I remember the reproach that a colleague received, just for chewing gum in public.

In this situation, the project manager should plan his project to avoid work spikes during Ramadan, or any task that requires a job of a certain intensity. In addition, it is grateful that the expatriate team has private spaces where they can eat and hydrate themselves "in secret". If not, you will have all your equipment half-gas. 

The "tempo" of a project will always be marked by the sociocultural environment. The month of Ramadan is just an example. 
Another relevant circumstance in the Arab countries occurs in the hot months, because of the high temperatures. During a season, and at certain times, it is totally forbidden to carry out outdoor activities. This implies planning the tasks to finish at noon, or to expose themselves to a sanction on the part of those responsible for Safety and Health.

Currently, our projects are developed in a highly multicultural environment. Not taking into account the idiosyncrasy of the team and the cultural environment where the project is framed will end up impacting on its success. Therefore, it is advisable to inform yourself to plan according to the vital times that may influence your progress.  
Now, the Sultan sometimes decides to hold certain festivities a few days in advance, and this is already an unpredictable fact. It is best if the delay of one or two days is not critical in your schedule.

Victor Lerga Bezunartea  Linkedin 

Project and Operations Manager at Indra and partner of the Barcelona Chapter.


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